When it comes to cooking, however, science may explain, but it doesn't "govern" to use your term. It's the palate that does that, and that is the reason that there are many more technically proficient chefs than there are good cooks.For starters, I think some of the second part of the statement has merit and that it is probably true that there are many more technically proficient chefs than there are good cooks. Like her, I cannot prove that it is true that the number of technically proficient chefs outnumber those that she and I would consider to be good cooks, but it feels right. My personal experience suggests that the population of technically proficient cooks is very small and that a good deal of badly prepared meals are made by cooks whose command of technique is very weak. However, the rules of polite rhetoric require that I agree with something she wrote, so let's just say that I agree with most of the second part of that statement, and take a look at what I cannot agree with
When it comes to cooking, however, science may explain, but it doesn't "govern" to use your term. It's the palate that does that,And the statement I wrote that provoked her response
To say that [Name Redacted] is of no use to cooks is as misguided as suggesting that it is useless for a cook to understand the physical and chemical principles that govern the rules of cooking.I used to work with a very religious Hatian fellow who was fond of saying "Man proposes, God disposes" whenever something went wrong. You may want to do something, you may try to do something, but unless God allows you to do it, it ain't getting done.
Since this is a secular blog, I am not going to get involved in discussing whether or not God exists or if God's existence plays any role in deciding whether or not your bread will proof or you pasta will taste the way you hope it will taste. Rather I'm going to use the logic of that statement, to explain how I think what I believe is the proper relationship between what the famous cookbook author calls "palate" and science. But first let me make it clear what I mean by the word "palate."
Since the word palate is a term of art that is idiosyncratically defined by people who practice and patronize arts where it's necessary to speak about palate. I'm going to define it in the way that I, as a chef and culinary teacher, understand it. I'm sure if you look it up in a dictionary its definition won't be that different from
a set of personally held beliefs about how a thing(s) or idea(s) should be, before the self recognizes that that thing (s) or idea(s) as aesthetically pleasing.When I am engaged in the work of a chef, I use my palate/beliefs about how food should look and taste to guide me as I choose what ingredients I will use, what proportions I will mete and what cooking techniques I will use to construct a dish that I hope will be aesthetically pleasing to myself and to the palates of those I hope will eat it. However, if my beliefs about how a dish should be in order to be aesthetically pleasing do not take into account the fact that nothing I do can violate the laws of physics and be successful, it does not matter what my palate decided, it's not happening. So, returning to the interior logic of the homily of my former Haitian friend :
Palate Proposes, Science disposes.Atomic and Molecular Theory, Chemistry, Biology and ultimately the Laws of Physics determined what will and will not happen in the kitchen. To believe palate is the sole arbiter of what will and will not occur, defies reason and smacks of hubris.